Directed by: Jon Watts
Starring: Tom Holland, Michael Keaton, Jacob Batalon and Robert Downey Jr.
Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
Spider-Man: Homecoming brings a much needed breath of fresh air to what had become a stale franchise.
The story follows the events of Captain America: Civil War in which a young Peter Parker a.k.a. Spider-Man (Tom Holland) was introduced into the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). Unlike previous adaptations of the Marvel comics, the film is not an origins story. It instead focuses on Spider-Man’s attempt to impress Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) in order to become a permanent Avenger. Meanwhile, Peter also struggles to maintain his life as a school student and raise his social status amongst his peers.
Spider-Man: Homecoming is both a superhero and a high school film. Peter is portrayed as 15-year-old in the MCU and actually feels like a teenager, unlike in previous Spider-Man films. The film adopts the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise’s superhero/comedy genre, with hilarious characters such as Peter’s best friend Ned (Jacob Batalon) who delivers a standout performance and is one of my favourite characters. Batalon plays Ned’s character brilliantly as a geeky, superhero fanboy who when discovering Spider-Man’s secret identity insists on being ‘the guy behind the computer’ helping Spider-Man on his missions.
Another standout performer is Michael Keaton as Vulture. In the film, Vulture steals various technology and materials in order to create weapons to sell. Vulture is portrayed as a dangerous but low-key villain. He never does anything so outrageous that it would attract the likes of the Avengers, but still does enough to both make a quick, sizable profit and create weapons so powerful they can hurt a superhero. Vulture’s criminal activity stems from a desperate want to comfortably provide for his family for the remainder of their lives.
Spider-Man: Homecoming embraces its place in the MCU without delving too far away from the idea of a ‘friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man’. The film focuses on Peter’s need to first prove himself on a smaller scale to that of the Avengers. Peter struggles to come to terms with the fact that he is seen as more of a trainee superhero and constantly seeks out higher profile missions and villains. The restrictions on Peter are a pleasant surprise and provide an enjoyable contrast from the usual overpowered MCU characters and abilities.
One aspect of the film I would change is the advanced level of technology in Spider-Man’s new suit. When it is revealed how much the new suit can do by itself, it almost feels like Spider-Man has become an Iron Man hybrid. Later in the film, Spider-Man is forced to use his old suit, portraying a message Tony Stark gives to Peter, being that if a hero is nothing without their suit, then they are not worthy of the suit. Whilst it is clear that Marvel are attempting to introduce a more modern adaptation of Spider-Man, I am hoping that his natural abilities are also focused on in sequel films rather than just the workings of his new suit.
Spider-Man: Homecoming is one of my favourite films in the MCU. The most pleasing aspect for me is that they have kept true to the idea of the ‘friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man’ rather than turning him into an invincible Avenger straight away. I cannot wait for the next Spider-Man film and I am really hoping it maintains the use of both the superhero and high school genres.
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